Virginia Judge Considers Dismissing Charges Against Officer in High Profile Police Brutality Case Due to Prosecutor Conduct

Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Brett A. Kassabian said he is considering dismissing charges against a county police officer who allegedly tasered and punched a disoriented Black man immediately after arriving at a call scene in June 2020. Police body camera video from another officer’s camera showed no provocation by the man before he was tasered and then hit with the device.

However, the judge said he had “a great deal of concern” over the appearance of “misrepresentation of statements” made by the prosecutor to a prior circuit court judge on the case regarding exculpatory evidence.

Kassabian called it “disturbing” that an Office of the Commonwealth’s attorney had not turned over evidence that may help defendant Tyler Timberlake at his trial, scheduled for next fall. Timberlake, an eight-year veteran of the police department, is currently on administrative leave.

Lawyers for Timberlake asked the judge to dismiss the charges because the county prosecutors failed to turn over evidence supporting his case, including a statement from the victim saying he was high on PCP at the time. Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Dennis Somech noted that the deadline for turning over evidence is 11 months away.

Federal Lawsuit Filed

The victim, La Monta Gladney, 37, filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Alexandria in March against Timberlake, claiming his civil rights were violated during the incident. He also alleged he was subject to excessive force and was falsely arrested.

According to the body camera footage, Gladney appeared disoriented when dealing with another officer before Timberlake arrived, but he was not combative. He was walking around in circles on the street in Mount Vernon. As soon as Timberlake appeared, he used the taser. He then hit Gladney with the stun gun or with his fist. Timberlake then kneeled on his back after Gladney went down. He again deployed the taser on the back of Gladney’s neck.

While Gladney was charged with public drunkenness and resisting arrest, charges were later dropped. He later told a reporter that he simply wanted to stop unwarranted police stops in his neighborhood. Gladney said he was frequently harassed by officers who patrol the area on bicycles.

According to Gladney, he was at a friend’s house that day when the woman experienced a medical emergency. His cell phone had died, so he went outside seeking help. His distress made him unable to communicate as he paced around on the road. He did test positive for PCP later at a nearby hospital.

His lawsuit states he suffered a broken collarbone in the incident. Photos show wrist and shoulder abrasions. One photo shows four prod marks on the neck, which Gladney said resulted from the taser. He claims his emotional trauma is ongoing.

Mistaken Identity

Timberlake’s attorneys and prosecutors say that he mistook Gladney for someone else, calling him “Anthony” as he told him to “get on the ground.” The man Timberlake mistook Gladney for had outstanding arrest warrants and previous convictions.

Misdemeanor Assault and Battery Charges

The day after the incident, Timberlake was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and battery. He announced he was filing a defamation lawsuit against Fairfax County prosecutors and the Board of Supervisors chair for statements made after he was arrested.

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